Oak Park and River Forest head soccer coach Paul Wright hopes to have a lot of questions about his team answered after the first couple of weeks of action. One thing he knows for sure is several of his starters are back from winning 16 games last season, including a regional championship.

“We will be a young team, [but] unlike year’s past we have a lot of depth on the bench,” he said.

The Huskies return eight starters in Tasia Race, Casey Blaha, Emily Gullo, Rachel Huck, Grace Brofman, Sarah McCall, Janel Brown and Alex Chapman. Race returns after only playing seven games last season due to a hip injury. Blaha is still nursing an injury suffered during the basketball season, but the Huskies are deep enough to withstand the Northwestern-bound midfielder’s temporary absence. Emily Gullo and McCall both started for the Huskies as freshmen last season.

Huck, a senior, will play defense, as will Brofman at sweeper. Brown returns as a senior after going to Trinity for her junior year. She played several games on varsity as a sophomore for OPRF. Chapman, also a senior, will take up goalkeeper responsibilities.

Wright has a slew of newcomers to choose from in Trinity transfer Maggie Tansey, Jessica Luttrel, Tory Gullo and Kate McCole. Luttrel, a sophomore who played club soccer during her freshman season, will join Emily Gullo as the heart of the midfield. Luttrel is an unselfish and experienced player, according to Wright.

The main goal for the Huskies this season no doubt is to get past Lyons Township in the sectional final. OPRF was ousted from the playoffs by the Lions last season and in 2007.

The Huskies are expected to battle Lyons and York for the top spot in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference. They open conference play at home against York on April 7 (5 p.m.).

Join the discussion on social media!

Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...